...So we are up with the mullahs again leaving Galipolli and heading off around the Dardenelles, sea of Mamara in to Istanbul.. The local mullah was definately a radical dissident..." there is only one bike and HONDA is its name".... dangerous stuff - and If you have no idea what I am talking about go read the entries in chronological order!! (yes you Simon!)
Chris is looking forward to a bit of bike maintanance once we leave Istanbul - which we duely did - I kinda take a different view to it all, I give my bike a name, he is called Roderick because he has push rods in the engine and I sing to him happy birthday evertime he clocks another thousand miles, he was 91 a few days ago!! ... and I did give him the full two verses at the traffic lights....He definately is a boy, who else but a male would attempt something like this at his age and still never ask for directions!!!) You see when it is personal he will not let you down... I did help a bit and clean out the airfilter, check the plugs, oil and loose bits...
Watch out when you are haring along!!
So to Istanbul - there will be no pictures for a while, we are in a bit of a dessert at the mo writing this, a real one and a technological one - (Broad band, aint that what you tie your turban on with, eh mohamed")
Istanbul, not the capital of Turkey, that honour goes to Ankara - Istanbul has all the nice bits , Ankara is a concrete pile of PooH - and for our younger readers that is not Winnie either (Hello Danial).. we came, we where tourists, we left incredible impressed and a lot lighter on the wallet.
Turkish Food - aaaagh what can I say , my second favourite thing.. all this for about 2 pounds, meatballs in sauce with potatoe, bread, yoghurt and honey, rice with beans
The Streets Of Istanbul - no sign posts lots of mosques that dont make good landmarks, cause there are lots of them!! and we are lost.. we can see the Bosphuros over there but which bit of it that is, well take a guess... We stop, take off helmets and jackets and cool down, the bike engines are way hot too and need it as well - heavily laden air cooled bikes in slow traffic at 35 degrees is not good. Its mid day ish despite getting up with the mullahs and people are crowding the pavement. Turkish hospitality is something else, a bike courier comes over looks at Chris looking at the map, says not a word and goes away, a moment later come back with two packets of soft moist tissue wipes, hands them to us individually and leaves - I am stunned..they do come in handly though, even tough world travelling bikers have soft important little places.. We think we have our bearings and make another lunge in the traffic.. give it a minute and another bike courier frantically waves us down... he gives it large in Turkish, we smile and mutter in English, he gives it again in Germany, I try a reply and loose him completely, he goes again in French - now we get some where ( slowly some where with bad bad grammer) he cant tell us where we are on the map, he does not know the name of the road, he explains he is Pakistani, has worked in France and Germany and would we like to stay at his house!! Well to ruin international relations we would not actually! Fake friends waiting at a hotel we are trying to find are invented and we all part happy chappies - well almost we still dont know where we are.
Mary and Baby Jesus as depicted at the Aya Sofia - With a upset looking mothing law!
Chris gets inspired, spots a landmark and we are off - in Turkey one way streets, red lights all seem to be optional, Inshallah (God Willing) you can even go along the tram track TOWARDS the tram and survive! All credit to Chis he gets us to with in 200 metres of the Youth Hostel - no you dont need to be a youth - I spot the sign form the corner of my eye and we are home!!
Since the start we have been carrrying camping gear, and using it! Part of which is a large blue plastic tarpuline. Chris wants to ditch it, I think it is essantial - imagine needing shade in the dessert after a breakdown - we compromise, the bikes are chained up and chained to the railings, the plastic tarp is left with them, if it gets stolen great, if not we keep it - I cheat a little and put is behind the bike out of immeadiate sight - all night two cats sleep on it, when we leave I do not attempt to smell it - if it smells of cats p+ss then it smells of cats p+ss, besides which it goes on the back of Chris's bike not mine.
I had a haircut the other day in a turkish 'Berber' - communiction is generally mimed, I have the ability to count to 6 in turkish, ask how much and say hello and good bye - not yet Poet Laurate material... So I mime to this barber that I want it short, he gets a glint in his eye and sets too... Maybe I am the first foriegner he has tourtured for a while, or even ever - he sets to with a vengence, Turkish guys get there moneys worth here, forget Edward Siscor Hands here we have Mustafah Snip.
After 40mins there is not a hair that he has not done, and done perfectly and imaculately too - its a pity I will be putting a smelly bike helmet back on top afterwards - he has trimmed, sniped, singed with a naked flame, shaved, and plucked- nasal hair, ear growths, neck, tash, everything. Rubbed on powders, combed in lotions, massaged till my eyes fell out.
Then he stands there with a cut throat razor in his hand, looks me in the eye and askes " Do you want your scrotum shaved sir?" .... Well It could have been what he said, there is nothing else visable that have not been violated... one pound fifty on the table and I am out of there!! - but I do look cute! (hi Jan)
Turkish Hospitality again... we stop for cay (tea) in a small village - one street, one tea shop and locals standing and waiting for a tractor to go past to make there day! the tea shop owner refused to take payment for the tea, all he wanted was a photo of him and the tea shop - it was indeed done and will be posted back to him. There is also a huge national pride in being a Turk... Down town Avaylik, a small but pretty coastal harbour town, we are walking the main street when bang on 8 pm the National Anthem starts up from loud speakers - everyone, but everyone stand to attention, some of the old men struggle up taking longer to stand then the music played for - the traffic stops completely nothing moves.......... Backpacker Ghettos in Istanbul - a street full of bars, beer on tap, western rock music and cafes with Banana Fritters and cheap kepabs - but Notice NO stray Dogs on the streets, do you wonder why the kepabs are SO CHEAP!!! The moment the local Mullah starts his evening wail all the music stops till he finishes
Beer Philosophy - we have a beer once in while of an evening and talk boys talk... I suggest that life is about making memories, Chris says No it is about being happy in yourself..What do you thinkabout when you are riding? I asked Chris this the other day and Not much was the reply - he would not be drawn out any further.. me I am worse then an adolsence boy with the password to the porn site, and I sing a lot too.. Beethoven is popular at the moment, Genisis is making a come back and the other day the entire lyrics of Mark Knopfler Peaches came to mind.....Dang dang dang... ta dum dum , walking on the beaches looking at the peaches.. ta dum dum dum..........
The Hareem in the Topkapi Palace
Aziz Mustafa Kamel - That really was his name - no sniggering - A True Turkish Hero and now that I have been to see his museum and burial ground I am impressed at what he did.. But thats all for this episode, tune in the same time soon for more exciting variations on standard English spelling... and a bit of adventure too ........
Posted by Richard Stone at August 16, 2004 01:24 PM GMT
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